Piedmont Healthcare announced Thursday that it has formally added Columbus Regional Health to its burgeoning hospital system.
The West Georgia organization is now known as Piedmont Columbus Regional, and increases the Atlanta-based system’s spread to 10 hospitals. Columbus is Piedmont’s farthest thrust south and west from its Atlanta core, in a drive that many experts see as a statewide strategy.
“When Columbus Regional began looking for a partner, we were immediately interested because we saw the same dedication to high-quality, patient-centered care that Piedmont prides itself in,” Kevin Brown, CEO of Piedmont Healthcare, said in a statement Thursday. “Over the last few months of planning for this integration, we’ve worked closely with the leadership at Columbus Regional and felt the affirmation that this is a great collaboration – for Piedmont, for Columbus Regional and the communities it serves. It is nice to celebrate making it official today.”
Such partnerships can enhance hospitals’ leverage in negotiations with health insurers on reimbursement rates for medical services. Hospitals also say that the deals can reduce hospitals’ costs in such areas as supply purchases and health IT. But insurers say the hospital consolidation trend causes higher prices for employers and consumers.
Another big pending deal was announced last month: Atrium Health – which just changed its name from Carolinas HealthCare – and Macon-based Navicent Health signed a letter of intent to enter into “a strategic combination.’’
This is the second Columbus hospital to go from complete local control in the last three years, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer pointed out. Facing bankruptcy, St. Francis was sold to LifePoint Health of Tennessee on Dec. 31, 2015, putting the formerly nonprofit hospital under the control of a for-profit health care company.
Founded in 1836, Piedmont Columbus Regional has two hospital campuses.
“Today, we celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Columbus Regional Health,” said Scott Hill, CEO of Piedmont Columbus Regional, in a statement. “We are excited about the many possibilities and new opportunities the partnership with Piedmont will bring to our patients, our employees, our medical staff partners and our community as a whole. We have worked hard to put our patients and our employees first over the past number of years, in addition to positioning our organization for growth and improvement.
“Being a clinical hub within Piedmont will make that a reality for us in many ways,” said Hill. “We know Piedmont is the right partner for not only Columbus Regional Health, but for the entire Chattahoochee Valley Region.”